Assessing spatio-temporal variability of risk surfaces using residential history data in a case control study of breast cancer
Most analyses of spatial clustering of disease have been based on either residence at the time of diagnosis or current residence. An underlying assumption in these analyses is that residence can be used as a proxy for environmental exposure. However, exposures earlier in life and not just those in the most recent period may be of significance. In breast cancer, there is accumulating evidence that early life exposures may contribute to risk. We explored spatio-temporal patterns of risk surfaces using data on lifetime residential history in a case control study of breast cancer, and identified elevated areas of risk and areas potentially having more exposure opportunities, defined as risk surfaces in this study. This approach may be more relevant in understanding the environmental etiology of breast cancer, since lifetime cumulative exposures or exposures at critical times may be more strongly associated with risk for breast cancer than exposures from the recent period.
International Journal of Health Geographics, 2005, Vol. 4, No. 9.